Sitka Blog

The new hotspot for senior finance professionals? Cardiff

18 May 2018

On 20th April, we were delighted to attend the first ever Finance Awards Wales, described as a showcase of the best finance talent in Wales. And with over 400 attendees and 11 awards, what a showcase it was!

Of course, specialising in finance recruitment as we do, we’re already well aware that Wales has some fantastic finance professionals, and we’re privileged to know a number of them. But to be surrounded by so many at once really highlighted to us how far the Welsh finance industry has come in recent years and how much potential it has to compete globally. Just this week, Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, a Powys-based finance provider received top UK honours from an international foundation.

We were particularly pleased to see Hannah Heath, who recently featured in one of our Q&As with female leaders in Wales, pick up the Chief Financial Officer/Finance Director award. However, in our view all the finalists were successful for the very reason that they’ve all played a vital role in growing the economy here in Wales.

Matt Hyde, Managing Director of the Wales Finance Awards, put it nicely when he described them as “the trusted backbone of business in Wales.” Without them, it’s unlikely that Cardiff’s financial services sector would have seen successive years of rapid growth.

Already home to number of large companies offering excellent careers in finance, such as Lloyds Banking Group, MotoNovo Finance, Legal and General, Cardiff boasts Wales’ only FTSE 100 company Admiral - the company many would say skyrocketed Cardiff’s reputation for finance. And in spite of the continued uncertainty around Brexit, Cardiff is proving itself to be a resilient financial powerhouse and a great choice for organisations looking to expand too. In 2015, Deloitte set the trend by choosing Cardiff over other global locations to build its 700-strong delivery centre. In the next five years it’s planning to scale its workforce here to 1,500.

We’re already seeing the impact that the Central Square regeneration scheme and £1.28 billion Cardiff Capital Region City Deal have had on industry, jobs and infrastructure, but there are some other exciting developments in the pipeline that are already making Cardiff a more appealing choice for both businesses and job seekers.

Take rail electrification, which will soon reduce the Cardiff-London journey to 1hr 45 mins, and the Crossrail project which will make it possible to get to Canary Wharf in just two hours! There’s also lots of talk about the scrapping of the Severn bridge fares attracting a much wider talent pool.

One of the factors that makes Cardiff so appealing to financial organisations is, ironically, financial. Office space in Cardiff is 50% cheaper than London – so it’s little surprise that Knight Frank found there was higher demand for it than ever in 2017: 38% above the ten-year average to be exact.

The financial and professional services industry already employs some 56,000 people in Wales, and as more businesses expand to Cardiff it’s inevitable that more opportunities will arise to accommodate skilled, senior financial professionals. 

We also have three universities here that are extremely committed to improving graduate employability and building mutually-beneficial links with industry, so the pool of finance talent on offer in Wales is only likely to go one way.

The appeal isn’t all about work of course. Cardiff is also a great place to live and has frequently been ranked one of the top big cities for the quality of life it offers – not to mention its beautiful landscapes. This is often why financial professionals want to move back to Wales, but with Cardiff’s finance industry burgeoning they now have another motivation to do so!

As a recruitment agency which values trust above all else, we agree with Matt’s definition of finance professionals as the trusted backbone of business in Wales, and we look forward to leading more of them to the right roles in Welsh business over the coming years.     

If you’re an accountancy, marketing, HR or business devlopment professional looking to develop your career in the fantastic financial hotspot that is Cardiff, or an organisation looking to recruit top talent here, please get in touch and find out how we can help.  



About the author

Ita McNeil-Jones,

Ita has nearly 20 years of experience in senior recruitment, marketing, and business development spanning the private, public and third sectors. She spent 11 years with Hays Specialist Recruitment, progressing to the role of Business Director within just six years. With a clear focus on delivering high quality services to both clients and candidates, she always specialised in appointing managers and directors to key roles. Ita left Hays in 2011 and worked as Corporate Events Manager for the Welsh charity, Tenovus Cancer Care, before becoming Business Development Manager for Cardiff and Vale College - one of the largest further education colleges in Wales - where she helped develop the College's commercial function. It was there that she identified a need for a Wales-based recruitment agency that could provide ideal, quality candidates. Ita co-founded Sitka to be that agency.

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